The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim has congratulated Brighter Whitehead, winners of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS). It's the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK.
The QAVS is now in its seventeeth year and has seen over 500 nominations across UK, with just over 280 groups receiving the award, with 22 in NI.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Cllr Maureen Morrow, said: "I am delighted to write to congratulate Brighter Whitehead on being awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
"This award is a great tribute to the voluntary work of the Brighter Whitehead members. It truly is a wonderful acknowledgement of the hard work and dedication the volunteers put into the planting of flowers around the local area. Your groups contribution to the local community makes the town a brighter place to live, work, shop, visit and enjoy. I want to wish Brighter Whitehead all the best for the future as they continue to make their corner of Mid and East Antrim a brighter place.
"I hope this award further provides these groups with the opportunity to reach out to more people by encouraging and inspiring others to care for the environment and invest in their local community."
As well as horticulture, Brighter Whitehead have been champions of biodiversity, sustainability and community involvement over the years. As such, Whitehead has entered Ulster in Bloom each year since 1995 and has represented Northern Ireland at the RHS Britain in Bloom competition twelve times, having great success at both.
Bill Pollock, Chairman of Brighter Whitehead, said “Brighter Whitehead was established in 1995 and has grown from a group of six to over thirty volunteers. Our aim from the start was to contribute towards enhancing the town through environmental improvements in association with other community groups, businesses and statutory organisations. With a first year budget of only £450 we have come a long way and now have our own polytunnel, branded vehicle and support from local businesses and council.
"We are absolutely thrilled that we have been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2019. This award acknowledges each and every one of the Brighter Whitehead Volunteers, from 1995 to present day. Our volunteers are a dedicated bunch, meeting every week come rain or shine, and we are extremely proud that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll has bestowed upon this this honour, it will encourage us all to keep up the hard work.”